When The Way Seems Long

When the way seems long, or any burden heavy, we have songs

Witness how love and courage lift and reweave the broken strands

 

 

Ue O Muite Arukou, by Kyu Sakamoto, was a huge hit in 1961, and the English version – ridiculously titled ‘Sukiyaki,’ which is a bit like translating, for example, Unchained Melody into Japanese and calling it ‘Hamburger’ because that’s a word people there might relate to as ‘Western’ – anyhow, that English version was already a ubiquitous radio chestnut when I was in my single-digit years. I loved it.

In the 90s, when I worked in Japan, on one of our first office karaoke nights, I sang that English version, to some collegial astonishment (they didn’t know it that way) and a little personal astonishment (how do songs get lodged in memory without conscious effort?)

Yesterday, after a long session of heavy background research for my upcoming novel (yes! news to come soon!) I remembered Ue O Muite Arukou, and, compelled to learn it on guitar,  looked up Kyu Sakamoto’s original. It remains as gorgeous as ever.

This ‘Sing Out’ video above, though, proves the power of a masterpiece – two masterpieces, for they marry Ue O Muite Arukou with Bob Marley’s mighty One Love. Simple, enduring, open to serving for personal heartache, or to uplift a whole shattered nation. What a gift. May everyone who contributed to the Sing Out efforts be blessed.

Ue wo Muite Arukou

Ue o muite arukou (I look up when I walk)
Namida ga kobore naiyou ni (So the tears won’t fall)
Omoidasu haru no hi (Remembering those happy spring days)
Hitoribotchi no yoru (But tonight I’m all alone)

Ue o muite arukou (I look up when I walk)
Nijinda hoshi o kazoete (Counting the stars with tearful eyes)
Omoidasu natsu no hi (Remembering those happy summer days)
Hitoribotchi no yoru (But tonight I’m all alone)

Shiawase wa kumo no ue ni (Happiness lies beyond the clouds)
Shiawase wa sora no ue ni (Happiness lies above the sky)

Ue o muite arukou (I look up when I walk)
Namida ga kobore naiyou ni (So the tears won’t fall)
Nakinagara aruku (Though my heart is filled with sorrow)
Hitoribotchi no yoru (For tonight I’m all alone)

(whistling)
Omoidasu aki no hi (Remembering those happy autumn days)
Hitoribotchi no yoru (But tonight I’m all alone)

Kanashimi wa hoshi no kage ni (Sadness hides in the shadow of the stars)
Kanashimi wa tsuki no kage ni (Sadness lurks in the shadow of the moon)

Ue o muite arukou (I look up when I walk)
Namida ga kobore naiyou ni (So the tears won’t fall)
Nakinagara aruku (Though my heart is filled with sorrow)
Hitoribotchi no yoru (For tonight I’m all alone)

 

All My Relations

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